Off to the races

Race track at Saratoga, 1865 drawing by Winslow Homer for Harper’s Weekly

When she’s not writing fiction, hiking or gardening, part-time Woodstocker Erica Obey has the enviable gig of teaching courses on mystery fiction and Arthurian romance at Fordham University. She’s currently promoting her latest novel, The Horseman’s Word, which posits a fanciful, sinister plot behind the New York City draft riots that pitted Irish immigrants against black freedmen in 1863.

It is July of 1865, and in Saratoga Springs, the wealthy racegoers wish, in the words of General Daniel Sickles, who left a leg at Gettysburg, “to let bygones be bygones” and put the war behind them. Yet Rose Adair is hard-pressed to forget Tamerlane Fallon, the Englishman she last saw being led off to be hanged as a Confederate spy. When he is pulled from Congress Spring, after apparently having killed a man over a mysterious smuggled artifact, Rose is forced to sort through conflicting tales of Fenian rebels and the occult Society of the Horseman’s Word, in order to discover the truth about a very real and very dangerous conspiracy that threatens not just the racing season, but the entire future of the country.


Erica Obey will read from The Horseman’s Word at the Saugerties Library at 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 29, and participate in a panel discussion with Alison Gaylin and Carol Goodman at the Golden Notebook in Woodstock at 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 7. To learn more about these two events, visit and For more on the author, visit

The Horseman’s Word
Thursday, Aug. 29, 6 p.m.
Saugerties Library, 91 Washington Ave.
(845) 246-4317
Saturday, Sept. 7, 4 p.m.

Golden Notebook,
29 Tinker St., Woodstock
(845) 679-8000